HUD Regulations for Section 8 Subsidies Impact Boca Raton

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On 11-15-2016 the U.S. Dept. of Urban Development released its Final Rule 16-173, “Establishing a More Effective Fair Market Rent System; Using Small Area Fair Market Rents in the Housing Choice Voucher Program Instead of the Current 50th Percentile FMRs.”  This change requires Boca Raton and twenty-three other metropolitan areas to implement a new ZIP-code based approach—replacing the metropolitan area approach—to calculate the Section 8 maximum rental assistance for private-sector housing of Section 8 voucher holders starting in 1-2017.  Consequently, more lower-income people will receive greater subsidies to move into higher-rent housing and neighborhoods.  This change did not require Congressional approval.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher works by requiring tenants to pay thirty percent of their adjusted monthly income toward rent, and the Federal Government supplies the balance due of the rent so the landlord receives a fair market rent.  Establishing a local fair market rent determines the amount of government rent subsidy available to a tenant.

ZIP-codes provide smaller geographical areas than larger metropolitan area designations, so H.U.D. Fair Market Rents (FMR) can vary greatly within a city.  Boca Raton has eight zip codes, so up to eight different FMRs could be established for Section 8 to provide different maximum levels of subsidies.  With the higher amounts of subsidies available, a tenant can move into more expensive housing.  At the same time, this will also reduce subsidies in lower-rent areas, encouraging people to relocate to the higher-rent areas with their greater subsidies.  The new subsidies will also cover utilities.  Moreover, government “mobility counselors” will help the Section 8 recipients find the more expensive housing in the new neighborhoods.

The 2016 example of Washington, D.C. illustrates the major change of the subsidy amount.  For the old entire metropolitan area, Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1623, but the new rule will raise it to $2420 in some ZIP codes.  Thus, the monthly rent subsidy would increase by $797 in those smaller areas, enabling poorer people to move into the wealthier neighborhoods.

Since these federal programs can only be implemented and enforced with the complicity of local and state governments, H.U.D. has intimidated more.  In 4-2016, H.U.D. Secretary Julian Castro threatened to sue suburban landlords for discrimination if they refuse Section 8 tenants with criminal records.  In 2015 Castro implemented the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation that pressures suburban counties taking federal grant money to change local zoning laws to build more low-income housing.

This aspect of social engineering by “spreading the wealth around”—financed by our tax money—will relocate more inner-city poor and gang members into affluent suburbs, as has happened in “demonstration projects” of the last two decades.  In 1994 a H.U.D. program moved thousands of African-Americans from government projects to safer, less racially segregated counties across the U.S. with greater Section 8 vouchers.  Those people did not get better jobs or get off welfare; more went on food stamps and their children did not do better in their new schools.   Increased crime followed them, and Dubuque, IA experienced crime waves directly linked to the Section 8 housing.

A similar program tested several years ago in Dallas coincided with the shift of violent crime to affluent neighborhoods.  2012 began the increase of housing subsidies.  Frisco, Plano, and McKinney, TX had the most Section 8 transfers and also unprecedented increases in rapes, assaults, break-ins, and home invasions.

Even Chappaqua, NY in Westchester County fights Section 8 housing due to its links to drugs and crime.

This major policy shift will have broad implications, affecting everything from crime to property values.  If Boca Raton government accepts this program, its safe neighborhoods will also be destroyed by crime, more drugs, the poverty culture, and school deterioration.  So far, most city councilmen, the mayor, and candidates for the 3-2017 election have failed to respond to warnings about what the federal government plans to impose.

Judicial Watch, 11-21-2016, http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2016/11/hud-gives-poor-rent-money-live-higher-opportunity-areas-lower-poverty/

Speer, Paul, 5-8-2016, http://nypost.com/2016/05/08/obamas-last-act-is-to-force-suburbs-to-be-less-white-and-less-wealthy/

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2016/HUDNo_16­173 1/4

https://bocawatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2016-27114.pdf –Final Rule

https://bocawatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/SAFMR-Key-Aspects-of-Final-Rule.pdf –Key Aspects

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From the western suburbs of Chicago, Allan lived in Marin County, CA for 27 years before moving to Boca Raton in 2010 after retirement from the USPS. Degrees in English and history from DePauw and Northwestern give him broad perspectives for his Constitutional concerns. Having organized a union and fought government mismanagement as a union steward and newspaper editor, he also led hikes, wine-tasting trips, and literature-lovers' evenings, and served as Treasurer on his condominium board in CA. Now in FL he enjoys other activities that fill his life: house remodeling, ballroom dancing, Masonry, target shooting, synagogue, Tea Party, bicycling, and pickleball.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting article. Thanks for the info. BTW, I wish I only had to pay 30% of my mortgage to live in my house. That would be great!

    • I wish I wasn’t qualified for my car lease allowing me to drive a safer, luxury vehicle. I wish I had to worry about the costs of my grocery bills during my Fresh Market/Publix/Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods/Meating Place grocery shopping trips once a week. I wish that I had the chance to have children in our very nice public schools so I could figure out how to love close enough to pick them up, leave my $35k/year job to pick them up even though my boss hates when I ask him and I risk losing my job… I wish I wasn’t deprived of the opportunity to commute and work in other areas that perhaps pay more, but can’t because my car isn’t reliable and I have to pick up those hypothetical kids when school lets out.

      Unfortunately, despite being laid off a month ago, I have a nice severance package. I can still afford my car lease, car insurance, paying for my fancy groceries, and living in a downtown east Boca condo with my husband where I can walk to my favorite restaurant (a lobster bar) for a martini after a long day’s work of looking and applying for jobs and reading industry blogs lest I miss anything. After losing my job, we stopped using our housekeeper because I think I’m a better cleaner. I don’t get to go online and buy the tops I’ve had my eye on for two months because I need to save money. I’m lucky that my $800/mo insurance is covered by my husband’s workplace because that allows me to pay my bills more easily. I’m glad we’re not in a rush to have a child because I want to provide them with the same lifestyle I had growing up in this city. Because I am a white, well-spoken, educated, and attractive female with a symmetrical face, statistics show I am in a favorable position as I search for a job. As sad as I am that I am unemployed, I understand that I am lucky that due to a number of factors (some of which are not in my control), I can still live comfortably. Yeah, that would be amazing if our rent was reduced by 70% (which would probably still be more than what those eligible for section 8 housing are paying) because I’d be an idiot to not want that. But do you wish you had any of the inconveniences Boca Raton proper’s residents have? I don’t. I’m grateful that money is set aside for some small degree of assistance to those eligible for section 8 housing, food stamps– whatever. I’m grateful money is set aside that Sanborn Square has free yoga for the Boca moms every Saturday morning. I’m grateful that Boca’s library is so nice, people can get married there. I’m grateful that the last heinous crime I can think of I’m Boca were the terrible murders of a mother and child at Town Center. The Boca Police blotter is a list of petty crimes– iPhones stolen out of cars. 20somethings stealing flammable polyester underthings from Victoria’s Secret. The requisite battery charges and possession of marijuana. Big whoop.

      And notice how I didn’t say “our tax dollars.” It’s not our money. You pay taxes like you pay your bills. Of course I see the difference between taxes and my Amex bills but the second it leaves your pocket, it’s not YOUR money. My tax refund is MY money– notice how the government isn’t then declaring it’s still their money? That’s how it works here in the USA.

      I love this city and will always remain educated and privy to what’s going on in the city, but this article makes me sad. I couldn’t finish it. There’s no inner city here. the only gang memebers in Boca are somehow in the area doing god knows what, but they are not Boca domiciliaries– not even crappy (yes, I said it– I’d rather be honest than blind or ignorant of the privileges I have) West Boca, which doesn’t get “our tax dollars.” C’mon guys– we’re better than this. This isn’t The Wire. This isn’t even Broward. This is Boca and it’s great here.

  2. Allan, I understand that you and a lot of other Boca residents are concerned about crime and poverty. It’s a good desire to want to fight these social blights. But trying to stop this reform to Section 8 isn’t helpful. Basing Section 8 on metro area and not zip code actually traps disadvantaged people in poorer neighborhoods. This change removes that trap. And people who use Section 8 vouchers are not criminals. I’ve met a few of them, they’re good people. They’re dedicated members of any community they are a part of.

    Don’t worry, Boca is a great, safe city, and this reform to Section 8 won’t destroy that. Don’t you think we can have a little more faith in the strength and goodness of our community?

  3. I already see what section 8 is doing to my neighborhood and I’m disgusted! The city of boca has let the area go. I call code Inforcement regularly to report violations. Nothing changes. Ive lived in Boca for 45 years. They just don’t care about specific areas and More of section 8 will make it worse.
    We work very hard to keep our home nice and our neighborhood safe for our children. I see the crime and lack of care for the properties where there is section 8. Broken windows, garbage all
    Over, parking lot of cars , overgrown yards, refrigerators on porches. Slum of Boca.
    It’s awful. “Most” of the tenants have no respect for the property and The City doesn’t care because it’s not in Mizner/ Palmetto area. And they don’t live here.
    It’s just deteriorating here and NOTHING is being done about it!
    The city is just letting the neighborhoods on Dixie go.
    Other than Dixie Manor. We all know why…..
    I wish I could pull out of my neighborhood and it look like the outside of Dixie Manor!
    The railroad side is another whole can of worms!

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